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What France Has Money For

NY Times - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:21
A burned cathedral, but not an angry, dissatisfied people.

This little electric car is the coolest thing at the NY Auto Show

Ars - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:20

As we detailed on Monday, this year's Shanghai auto show has been the place to be if you want to see car designers' ideas for future electric cars. But not everyone chose China as the place to reveal their electric concept cars. Genesis thinks the Big Apple is a better place to make an annual statement.

In 2017 it was the GV80, a hydrogen fuel cell EV that was the first clean-sheet design for the new Korean luxury brand and a vehicle that seems a lot more plausible now that we've driven Hyundai's Nexo. Last year, we got the Essentia, an electric hypercar that will almost certainly remain nothing more than a concept. Now, for the third year in a row, Genesis has stolen the New York International Auto Show, this time with the Mint, its take on a small luxury battery EV.

Forget an electric car for the masses, this one is for a niche within a niche: the city dweller who only needs two seats but still wants cargo space, plus the added drama of scissor doors and a leather-lined interior that looks like it belongs in a coachbuilt Bugatti from the 1930s. Admittedly, it's not the biggest demographic in the world, but I count myself firmly in that camp.

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Couple sentenced to 25 years to life in prison after children testify about years of torture

CNN - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:20
[Breaking news update at 1:09 p.m. ET]

On a number of important questions, Mueller never got answers

Washington Post - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:18
The investigation was stymied a number of times in myriad ways by those being investigated.

How Right, Left and Center Reacted to the Mueller Report

NY Times - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:17
Writers across the political spectrum responded to the public release of the special counsel’s report.

Breanna Stewart Shows the Toll of Pro Women’s Basketball’s Never-Ending Grind

NY Times - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:16
Stewart, like many women, plays overseas in the W.N.B.A.’s off-season to earn more money. But the endless season takes a mental toll and, as an injured Stewart shows, a physical one.

How Barr and Trump Use a Russian Disinformation Tactic

NY Times - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:16
They were able to define “collusion” to benefit themselves. Don’t let them twist meanings again with their “spying” investigation.

Surprise! Satellites show that thermometers don’t lie

Ars - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:15

Enlarge / Official weather stations are more standardized than this consumer one, which helps them track global temperature trends. (credit: Raymond Shobe)

Taking a human’s temperature is easy. Taking a pet’s temperature is similarly straightforward, if a bit rude. Taking a planet’s temperature, on the other hand, is much more of a challenge. The temperature isn’t the same everywhere, so one thermometer won’t get it done. Weather stations on land near population centers are relatively common, but remote areas and the vast oceans also need to be represented.

On top of this geographical span, researchers have to deal with the reality that various issues like equipment changes have to be accounted for to ensure that the data is consistent over a century or more.

A handful of teams around the world separately maintain surface temperature datasets, including NASA, NOAA, the UK Met Office, and the Japan Meteorological Agency. The differences between their results are so small that only climate scientists could find them noteworthy. They all show pretty much exactly the same amount of global warming over time. But this hasn’t stopped conspiratorial critics from claiming that temperature measurements are somehow manipulated to create the appearance of warming where none exists. (These critics never explain how this cabal of scientists got shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, and migrating species to play along.)

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ISIS Claims First Attack in the Democratic Republic of Congo

NY Times - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:14
Islamic State propagandists said the group was responsible for an assault that left eight Congolese soldiers dead. It was the group’s first Congo attack.

CNN reporter 'attacked' by lizard on air

CNN - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:08
CNN's Abby Phillip maintained her composure as a lizard climbed on her while she was reporting on live television.

Pentagon inspector general report on Shanahan and Boeing expected next week

CNN - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:06
A Pentagon inspector general report examining whether acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan violated his ethics agreement is expected to be made public by the end of next week, according to a defense official familiar with the matter.

Russian interference in 2016 sets landscape for 2020 presidential campaign

Washington Post - Fri, 2019-04-19 14:03
The Mueller report demonstrates the depth of Russian efforts, which are still paying off as President Trump and Bernie Sanders play off grudges.

Democrats set sights on Trump's finances as post-Mueller probes take shape

CNN - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:59
Democrats picked up on their post-Mueller course on Friday, rapidly ramping up their probes into President Donald Trump's finances and diving into the numerous cases of obstruction of justice that the special counsel documented.

Trump plays golf with Rush Limbaugh a day after Mueller report release

Washington Post - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:56
The conservative talk show host has been one of the president’s most ardent champions.

World of Goo is Epic Game Store’s next freebie—and all PC owners will get HD update

Ars - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:53

Enlarge / The Goo is back! And free! And updated for existing owners! Everyone wins, we think. (credit: 2DBoy)

As has become a regular occurrence lately, Epic Games announced another solid free video game coming to all of its Epic Games Store (EGS) users, which has so far been an every-two-weeks promo for the relatively new storefront. And again, as has become a regular occurrence, the news came with some confusing crossover with Steam, the mega-ton retailer that EGS is not-so-subtly taking on.

Friday's announcement confirmed that the award-winning puzzle game World of Goo, which launched in 2008 on PC and the Wii before reaching other platforms, will become an EGS freebie starting May 2. Users will have a two-week window to log in and claim a copy of the game (which currently retails for $10 at Steam and other digital-download storefronts).

Shortly after Epic's announcement, a PC Gamer report clarified one key detail: this version of World of Goo includes a significant "framework" update with an emphasis on higher resolutions. However, that report didn't answer if that update was an EGS exclusive—the kind of update that would require the game's existing fans to log into a second storefront and claim a free copy—or when exactly its Steam equivalent will get the update.

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Model can predict tariff impact ahead of time

Futurity.org - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:51

New research explores the complexity of tariffs as a trade tool in a global economy.

A global trade war initially launched with Trump Administration tariffs on Chinese steel in 2018 indeed boosted domestic steel production. But as analysts learned how higher costs would affect downstream manufacturers—and later affect demand for domestic steel—stock prices for US steelmakers tumbled by almost 50 percent year-over-year.

Researchers cited that anecdote—among many others—in their new work. Their paper also establishes a supply chain model to explain those effects and proposed that, in some cases, the effects were foreseeable when accounting for strategic, multi-party interactions and competition.

“The logic that levying tariffs will help protect and strengthen the corresponding domestic industries is not that straightforward in today’s global economy,” write Lingxiu Dong and Panos Kouvelis in their paper, which was accepted for publication in the journal Manufacturing & Service Operations Management.

When policymakers employ a tariff—a tax on imported or exported goods—as a tool to protect a domestic industry from foreign manufacturing, they may assume the industry operates in a vacuum. The effect of imposing a tariff on, say, soybean exports, however, has ripple effects throughout the supply chain for both soybean farmers and their suppliers as well as for the downstream consumers of soybeans, says Kouvelis, professor of operations and manufacturing management at Washington University in St. Louis.

Following the ripples

In retaliation for earlier US tariffs, the Chinese government imposed a 25 percent tariff on 106 US goods—including soybeans—in April 2018. Chinese buyers of US soybeans, which pork producers often use as feed, have started finding suppliers in Brazil and Argentina, avoiding higher prices.

Thus, the Chinese market begins to dry up for US soybean farmers, possibly forever. Agribusiness firms in South America are expanding aggressively in the region to capture the Chinese market opportunity.

“Suddenly, they realize there’s another sourcing opportunity, and they seize the opportunity,” says Kouvelis.

“Tariffs have short-term benefits and long-term implications that are frequently quite unpleasant. In the long term, firms adjust to the new realities.”

Kouvelis and Dong, professor of operations & manufacturing management, began working on their paper about 10 months after the Trump Administration levied the first tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from all nations, including China, in March 2018.

“It’s a very timely topic,” Kouvelis says. “What we thought as we started reading the stories was that the impact is not that obvious.” Under the theory, tariffs would protect US manufacturers from cut-rate imports of foreign-made steel and aluminum. In theory, US firms could expand, hire and supply more US consumers of steel and aluminum. But that’s not how it works in reality.

“Trade policies such as tariffs have significant implications not only for the industries the policies were intended to protect, but also for the complex supply chain that they are a part of,” Dong says. “The net effect of those reactions on the industry and the supply chain is hard to predict.”

The researchers did not conclude that tariffs were a poor instrument for executing trade policy. Rather, policymakers must be aware of the likely effects if they use tariffs. For example, tariffs may indeed restrict trade with a region of a globe—but that doesn’t mean all the companies within that region will be US firms.

“Companies go where they see the opportunities and the growth,” Kouvelis says. “We are moving towards regional supply chains, and in many cases that might be a desirable supply chain outcome. Shorter and market-focused chains are often argued as agile and lean. But tariffs might not have been the best way to end up there, and they may have caused competitive headaches for some of the US companies.”

Predicting the impact

In their research, the pair developed a number of mathematical models accounting for different variables in the supply chain. They examined where the supplier of raw materials is located relative to the manufacturers of finished goods, for example. Or whether the suppliers or manufacturers have multiple production plants in international locations or localized facilities.

Other variables include the costs of shipping goods or finished products and the ability (or inability) of a company to pivot to new suppliers or production facilities as costs rise.

Throughout their paper, the two researchers share anecdotes about how the tariffs have affected companies and industries. Motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson, for example, experienced higher production costs in the United States, thanks to steel and aluminum tariffs and an increase of $2,200 per bike from shipment costs resulting from European retaliatory tariffs. The company ended up shifting some of its production to Europe to better deal with such cost increases.

The model Kouvelis and Dong created would predict what is actually happening: US carmakers are shifting production to China, especially so for the lower-end car models—employing more Chinese workers and fewer US workers.

Meanwhile, the researchers captured the complexity of the auto industry, where US-made cars may be using Chinese components that US tariffs potentially affect, while Chinese tariffs also affect the final products the US exports to China.

The model Kouvelis and Dong created would predict what is actually happening: US carmakers are shifting production to China, especially so for the lower-end car models—employing more Chinese workers and fewer US workers. US production facilities will be further de-labored through flexible automation.

“We can tell you in stories after the fact some of the impact, but we need a model that predicts the direction of change and explains the stories,” Kouvelis says.

“What are the factors you have to think about so you can predict the move before it happens—rather than being a Monday morning quarterback?”

Source: Washington University in St. Louis

The post Model can predict tariff impact ahead of time appeared first on Futurity.

Mystery remains found at 'haunted' hotel

CNN - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:51
Bottles and jars containing possible human medical specimens were discovered in Arkansas by workers at the Crescent Hotel, which calls itself "America's Most Haunted Hotel."

Amid Opioid Prescriber Crackdown, Health Officials Reach Out To Pain Patients

NPR All Things Considered - Fri, 2019-04-19 13:30

After 53 health care workers were indicted for illegally prescribing opioids in Appalachia, local health agencies are trying to make sure chronic pain patients don't fall through the cracks.

(Image credit: Blake Farmer/WPLN)

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